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No. 7. To Lord Mulgrave. Dover Street, Aug. 12, 1805. MR. MONROE presents his compliments to lord Mulgrave, and will do himself the honour to wait on him at his office on Thursday next, at two o'clock. He has the pleasure to send his lordship a reply to his letter of the 9th instant,
No. 8. To Lord Mulgrave. Dover Street, Aug. 16, 1805. MR. MONROE presents his compliments to lord Mulgrave, and has the honour to return his lordship the papers which he was so good as to deliver him yesterday.' Mr. Monroe is sorry to find that these documents furnish no satisfactory explanation on the real ground of com. plaint, on the part of the United States, as stated in his letter of the 12th: he will therefore be happy to see lord Mulgrave again on the subject, as soon as it may be convenient for his lordship to receive him.
London, Aug. 20, 1805. SIR,—I had an interview with lord Mulgrave yesterday, on the late seizure of our vessels, which I am sorry to observe presented the prospect of a less favourable result than I had anticipated from the preceding one. He asserted the principle in the fullest extent, that a neutral power had no right to a commerce with the colonies of an enemy in time of war, which it had not in time of peace; and that every extension of it in the former state, beyond the limit of the latter, was due to the concession of Great Britain, not to the right of the neutral power. I denied the principle in equal extent, and insisted that Great Britain had no more right in war to interfere with or control the commerce of a neutral power with the colonies of an enemy, than she had in peace. As we could not agree on the principle, I asked on what footing his government was willing to place the trade? His reply showed, that it was
not disposed to relax in the slightest degree from the doctrine of the late decrees of the courts of admiralty and appeals; which go to cut up completely by the roots the whole commerce of the United States in the produce of the colonies of its enemies, other than for the home consumption of their citizens. I urged in as strong terms as I could the objections which occurred to me to this pretension, but he showed no disposition to accommodate, so that we parted as remote from an accord as possibly could be. I asked lord Mulgrave whether I should consider the sentiments which he expressed as those of his government? He said he had in the commencement expressed a desire that our conversations should be considered rather as informal, than official, as entered into more in the hope of producing an accord, than in the expectation that we should ultimately disagree; that however he should report the result to the cabinet, and give me such an answer to my letters, for my government, of the views of his own, as it might wish to be taken of its conduct and policy in this business. I do not state the arguments that were used in the conference on each side, because those of lord Mulgrave will probably be furnished by himself, and you will readily conceive those to which I resorted. What the ultimate decision of his government may be, I cannot pretend to say. It is possible that he held the tone mentioned above, in the late conference, to see whether I could be prevailed on to accommodate with his views. It is difficult to believe that it will yield no accommodation on its part to our just claims in the present state of pub. lick affairs.
In my former intervicw with lord Mulgrave, he informed me, that I should find by the reports which he gave me, that most of the vessels had been dismissed ; and it appeared by the reports, that some of them had been, one or two on the opinion of doctor Lawrence, counsel for the captured, which had been taken in the absence of the king's proctor. I returned to him the reports to obtain copies for you. General Lyman has informed me, that others have been since dismissed, and, as he thought, some that had been seized on the new doctrine of continuity of voyage, though nothing to countenance such an expectation escaped from lord Mulgrave in the last conference.
It is decided, on consideration of all circumstances, that Mr. Bowdoin will repair to Paris, where he will probably remain till he receives the orders of the President, and that Mr. Erving will proceed immediately to Madrid to relieve Mr. Pinkney. Mr. Bowdoin, by being on that ground, will be more in the way of obeying such orders as he may receive than here; and both he and Mr. Erving respectively may perhaps take their ground with greater propriety in this stage, while it is known that our government has not acted, than afterwards.
I am, sir, with great respect and esteem, your very obedient servant,
Lordon, Sept. 25, 1805. SIR,—I have already forwarded you copies of two leta ters to lord Mulgrave, respecting the late seizure of American vessels, and you will receive with this a copy of a third one. His lordship has endeavoured to manage this business without writing, from a desire, which has been very apparent, to get rid of it, without any compromitment. With that view he gave me, in an early interview, a report of the king's advocate-general and proctor on my first letter, which had been referred to them, which gave some explanation on the subject, which he might suppose would be satisfactory. I soon, however, assured him that ,, it was not, and pressed an answer to my letters, which was promised, but has not yet been given. A few days before Mr. Erving left this for the continent, I requested him to ask Mr. Hammond when I should be favoured with one. I send you a note of the conversation between them. Having waited some time longer, I thought it my duty to press the point again, and in so doing to expose, as fully as I could, the fallacy and injustice of the principle, on which Great Britain asserts the right to interdict our commerce with the colonies of her enemies and elsewhere in the production of those colonies. I do not know that I shall be able to obtain an answer to this or the other let. ters. The presumption is against it, because she does not wish to tie up her hands from doing what her interest may
dictate, in case the new combination with Russia and Austria should be successful against France. In the mean time she seeks to tranquillize us by dismissing our vessels in every case that she possibly can. It is evident to those who attend the trials, that the tone of the judge has become more moderate; that he acquits whenever he can acquit our vessels, and, keeping within the precedent of the Essex, seizes every fact, that the papers or other evidence furnish in the cases which occur, to bring them within that limit. If any thing can be done in our affairs, it may be in a week or ten days; and if not done in that time, it most probably will not be during the present winter. I shall do every thing in my power to bring them to a satisfactory conclusion. I am, sir, with great respect and esteem, &c.
P. S. I enclose you a copy of my letter to general Armstrong, by Mr. Erving.
[Here is inserted the remonstrance of Mr. Monroe, which we have already
printed, as it accompanied a former message of the President, in vol. v. p. 297.)
London, Nov. 26, 1805. SIR-hasten to transmit to you a copy of a letter, which I received yesterday from lord Mulgrave, in reply to mine of August 12th, and September 23d. From the length of time which had elapsed, and other circumstances, I had almost concluded that his government had resolved not to enter on the subject, but to leave me to get its determination as I could, from the decision of the admiralty. I find, however, with much satisfaction, that it is intended to take it up, whence there is some cause to presume that the business may yet be placed on a satisfactory footing. I shall not fail to cherish a disposition to such an adjustment by all the means in my power, or to inform you, with. out delay, of whatever may occur in it. I am, sir, &c.
Downing Street, Nov. 25, 1805. SIR,_Upon a deliberate consideration of the nature and importance of the question which you have opened in the two official notes which I had the honour to receive from you, and adverting to the grounds of reasoning, upon which you have principally rested your representations, I deemed it indispensably necessary to a due discussion of the subject, that a reference should be made by me to those who are best acquainted with all the circumstances respecting the decisions which have taken place, and the rules which have been established in our courts of admiralty and appeal, as well as with the principles and practice, according to which the law is therein administered. I have not yet received any report, in consequence of the refer,ence which I have made, but I hope at no distant period to be enabled to give a full, and I trust, conclusive answer upon this most important point. I trust that you will not consider the interval of time, which is nesessary for a due investigation of so considerable a question, as a delay ejther inexpedient or misplaced. I have the honour to be, &c.
MULGRAVE. James Monroe, Esq. &c. &c. &c.
Extract of a Letter from Mr. Monroe to Mr. Madison.
London, February 12, 1806. "As soon as Mr. Fox took possession of his office, he requested an interview with the foreign ministers, which took place yesterday. We were introduced separately. Mine lasted about half an hour. As soon as the ceremony of the interview had passed, I observed, that I presumed he had been too short a term in office to have made himself acquainted with what occurred between his predecessors and myself, more especially the last one. He said, he had not had time to read the papers, though he presumed he had a general idea on some of the topicks. In respect to the immediate question of seizure, he asked me whether I had made to them, or they to me, any proposition. I gave a short sketch of the part which our respective gor vernments had acted, since the commencement of the preVOL. VI.